Random Page: 96. Winter Journal by Paul Auster

20A. 300 Eighth Avenue, Apartment 1-I; Brooklyn. A one-room studio on the ground floor of a six-story apartment building, located in the back, with a view of an air shaft and a brick wall. Larger than the maid’s room on the rue du Louvre, less than half the size of the Varick Street hovel, but equipped with a toilet and bath as well as various kitchen appliances built into one of the walls: sink, stove, and minibar fridge, which you rarely bothered to use, since this was a space for work and not for living (or eating). A desk, a chair, a metal bookcase, and a couple of storage cabinets; a bare bulb hanging from the middle of the ceiling; an air conditioner in one of the windows, which you would turn on when you arrived in the morning to filter out noises from the building (COOL in summer; FAN in winter). Spartan surroundings, yes, but surroundings have never been of any importance as far as your work is concerned, since the only space you occupy when you write your books is the page in front of your nose, and the room in which you are sitting, the various rooms in which you have sat these forty-plus years, are all but invisible to you as you push your pen across the page of your notebook or transcribe what you have written onto a clean page with your typewriter, the same machine you have been using since your return from France in 1974, an Olympia portable you bought secondhand from a friend for forty dollars–a still functioning relic that was built in a West German factory more than half a century ago and will no doubt go on functioning long after you are dead. The number of your studio apartment pleased you for its symbolic aptness. 1-I, meaning the single self, the lone person sequestered in that bunker of a room for seven or eight hours a day, a silent man cut off from the rest of the world, day after day sitting at his desk for no other purpose than to explore the interior of his own head.

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